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2 Broke Girls is a Sitcom airing on CBS. The story is centered around Max Black (Kat Dennings), a waitress at a local diner, and her new co-worker Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs), the daughter of a wealthy man whose bank accounts were frozen after he was found guilty of enacting a Ponzi scheme. With no money to her name, Caroline has left her usual neighborhood in search of work, which is how she ended up working at the diner with Max.
The show premiered on CBS on September 19, 2011, and since then has been picked up for another season for the 2012/2013 lineup.
Tropes used in this series include:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Oleg the fry cook to Sophie.
- Aborted Arc: Max doesn't know how to bake cupcakes from scratch, and she and Caroline move on with the cupcake business without ever addressing whether she's actually learned.
- All Women Love Shoes: At Caroline's old penthouse, she has quite an impressive collection, which she keeps on a rotating vertical carousel thing in her closet that she calls her "Ferris heels."
- Artistic License Religion:
- "And the Kosher Cupcakes" perpetuates the misconceptions that a Jewish boy "becomes a man" by having his bar mitzvah.
- Also, there is little chance an orthodox family would ever just take a caterer's word that their product is kosher. Kosher restaurants and caterers have to have a heksher, that is, be under the supervision of a rabbi who certifies the restaurant or caterer as kosher, and not every Jew accepts the reliability of every heksher.
- Asian Gal with White Guy: Inverted when Han hooks up with the hipster girl, who's white. An Asian male web designer is also Caroline's love interest for an episode.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: Han's character runs on this.
- Asian Store Owner: Han "Bryce" Lee owns the diner. He's mostly a Stereotype used for race gags.
- Awesome McCoolname: Max Black.
- Badass: Max calls Caroline one in episode four for giving up her entire life and taking it in stride.
- Batter Up: Earl's Weapon of Choice.
- Big Breasts, Big Deal: The show has on several occasions included jokes and dialogue directly referring to her large breasts, with Max seemingly not bothered about it (under the trope descriptor, she simultaneously qualifies for Type 3 and 4).
- Big Damn Kiss: Max lays one on Johnny. His girlfriend, standing next to them, doesn't appreciate it leading Max to kiss her too.
- Big "What?": Max, so many times upon seeing Caroline's closet in episode four.
- Broken Bird: Max, judging by the dark places her jokes go.
- The Bus Came Back: Johnny returns in the first-season finale, "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball"
- Butt Monkey / Chew Toy: Han. He is usually the butt of many jokes. Usually involving his height or the fact he could be mistaken for a woman or a young boy.
- Call Back: In "And the Reality Check," Caroline says she got her Fendi leggings back when the two of them raided her old townhouse, back in "And the Rich People Problems."
- She also says in "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball" that she got her small jeweled purse, the one they kept the cupcake in, during the same raid.
- Camp Gay: The couple whose apartment they dog-sit in "And the Spring Break". Deconstructed throughout the episode when Caroline repeatedly tells Max not to view them through a stereotype, only to find out something new and stereotypical about them.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Max has this problem when asking people for favors.
- Cassandra Truth: Caroline in the pilot, about Max's boyfriend cheating on Max.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The way the episode titles are supposed to read (i.e. 2 Broke Girls <<insert episode name here>>).
- Cold Open. Often in the diner, with Caroline and Max serving customers. Usually leads to Max making a sarcastic comment to a customer. "And the Spring Break" was the first to break from this, starting in the girls' apartment instead.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Caroline tends to wear lighter, neutral colors, generally in browns and pinks, indicating her optimism. Max wears stronger, darker colors. often with black, for her more cynical outlook.
- Continuity Nod in "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball" Max and Caroline tell Earl to slow down because of his heart. In an earlier episode Earl had a heart attack he even mentioned that he had two before that.
- Contrived Clumsiness: Caroline "accidentally" spills a bowl of borscht on a girl who took a shirt Max was interested in at Goodwill.
- Cool Horse: Chestnut, Caroline's horse.
- Cool Old Guy: Earl, the cashier.
- Costume Test Montage: Sophie gets the girls ball gowns to Nicki Minaj's "Starships" in "And Martha Stewart Have a Ball", the first season's two-part finale.
- Could Say It, But...: This line from "And the Pretty Problem":
Caroline: I'm not saying mob money, but I think I would have a pretty nice shop if I had mob money.
- Crappy Holidays:
- Cunning Linguist: Caroline, who's been shown speaking fluent Japanese, passable Arabic and some Hebrew. Perhaps justified by her wealthy upbringing and MBA.
- Daddy's Girl:
- Max, who doesn't know who her real father is, likewise dotes on Earl, as shown in "And the Broken Hearts."
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
- Max. (Or at least, this is what she said she was doing. Caroline remains firmly convinced that she was really crying over her break-up).
- In "And the Upstairs Neighbor," we learn that Max has twice walked in on Caroline while she was pleasuring herself in the tub.
- No one does Sophie better than Sophie.
- Deadpan Snarker: Max. She even lampshades it in the second episode:
Max: When in doubt, I'm always mocking you.
- Disappeared Dad: Max, who doesn't even know his name.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The whole And the Pop Up Sale episode.
- Dumb Blonde: Caroline surprisingly averts this trope; while she's definitely naive, she's far from stupid and can hold her own in a lot of areas.
- Erotic Eating: Causes awkwardness for Max in "And The Disappearing Bed."
- Establishing Character Moment: The chewing-out Max gives to the two hipsters in the opening moments absolutely establishes her character as a snarker, cynical, jaded and not willing to take crap from anyone.
- Every Episode Ending: Each episode's end displays how much money the girls have earned towards their cupcake business.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Fallen-On-Hard-Times Job: Caroline, a former heiress, becoming a waitress.
- Fallen Princess: Caroline. In many ways, she's just as much of a victim of her father's Ponzi scheme as the people he ripped off. He told her that they were making legitimate money and, being his daughter, she believed him.
- Flashmob: Tried to be started in "And the '90s Horse Party" but luckily, Earl put a stop to that.
- Freudian Excuse: Caroline thinks that Max has one for her snarky attitude. Max responds to this by telling Caroline to mind her own business.
- Funny Foreigner: Han, Oleg, and Sophie. The show has gotten some bad press for relying on this trope a lot.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Sophie. Caroline said it best when she and Max were apologizing for being horrible, horrible judges of character.
Caroline: We thought you're still hot enough that men will still pay money to have sex with you.
- Groin Attack: Sophie delivers a shot to Oleg's nuts after one too many crude come-ons in "And the Blind Spot".
- Hair of Gold: Caroline.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Caroline's father, Martin. In "And the One-Night Stands", Caroline goes to see him in prison. A riot breaks out right before he comes into the visiting room. She says later she saw him for a second, although he didn't seem visible onscreen.
- However, in the first-season finale, "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball", his face was clearly shown on the computer while he was talked about due to a prison transfer and looked to be portrayed by Steven Webber.
- Heroic BSOD: Caroline has a bit of a breakdown during the Thanksgiving Episode when she's working as one of the Santa's elves.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Max and Caroline have rapidly developed this vibe. The trope is played with a few times when Max makes teasing lesbian innuendo towards Caroline.
- Hidden Depths: The end of "And the 90's Horse Party" reveals that Max went to college to study art in the hopes of illustrating children's books.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Max loves to bring up examples from her childhood out of the blue for no real reason.
- Hipster: One of the three worst things in the world, along with Hitler, and karaoke.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Averted in "And the Broken Hearts", when Earl calmly announces he's having another one and that he will walk to the hospital (Max and Caroline insist on having Sophie drive him).
- Horrible, Horrible Judge Of Character: The eponymous duo towards Sophie. They got better.
- Hypochondria: Subverted in "And the Kosher Cupcakes". Caroline is sure she's getting the flu for most of the episode, but then Max is found to be running a high fever despite not showing any symptoms and dismissing Caroline's.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Excluding the pilot, each episode is called "And _____", presumably to create the structure "2 Broke Girls and ______".
- Intergenerational Friendship: Max and Earl. He's really one of the only people she doesn't treat with her usual snarky attitude.
- Interrupted Intimacy: How Max discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her in the pilot.
- Oleg and Sophie in "And the Big Buttercream Breakthrough". Played with by having Han Li be trapped in the closet with them.
Han Li: (with stunned look) I went to get some mayo, and it all happened so fast.
- In the Blood: Caroline seems to have inherited her father's business sense as well as his lax approach to business ethics. This trait is somewhat selective, as sometimes (for example, the incident with the kosher cupcakes) she is more ethical than Max.
- Ironic Echo:
- In episode four, Caroline tells Max that "everyone wires their furs, bitch!" Max later retorts with "everyone inventories the furs, bitch!"
- "And the Kosher Cupcakes" uses this trope extensively.
- Japanese Politeness: Han is Korean rather than Japanese, but he's exceedingly polite and apologetic.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Max. Despite regularly being snide and sarcastic, she genuinely felt bad for Caroline and allowed Caroline to stay in her home without really asking for anything in return. It's pretty much established at the end of "And The Reality Check" that she's rather nice as Max is holding back tears as Chestnut is sent away for the winter. She's either this or possibly a Knight in Sour Armor.
- Peach was on the verge of this when her friend Constance threated not to invite her to any parties unless she fired Max in "... And The Buttercream Breakthrough". But it tuns out Peach was faking it and offers Max's job back.
- Ladykiller in Love: Oleg actually seems to have feelings for Sophie beyond the physical.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Max is Dark, Caroline is Light. Lampshaded by Sophie, the title character in "And the Upstairs Neighbor", who likens the duo to a chocolate and vanilla cupcake respectively.
- Like Father, Like Daughter: Caroline fears that this is the case in "And The Secret Ingredient".
- The Mafiya: Were the former owners of/customer base of the diner.
- Meaningful Echo: In the Pilot:
Han Li: You need help.
Max: No I don't.
Han Li: Everyone needs help sometimes.
(later on, after Max comes back to help Caroline.)
Caroline: I don't need any help.
Max: Everyone needs help sometimes.
- In "And the Big Buttercream Breakthrough":
Caroline: You can't spell "focus" without "us"
Max: And you can't spell it without "F U", either.
(later, when two girls who run a funnel-cake stand are making snide remarks about Max and Caroline only having a small table to sell their cupcakes with)
Funnel Cake girl: See, you can't spell "funnel" without "fun"
Caroline: And you can't spell it without "F U", either.
- Missing Mom: Caroline. Her mother cheated on her father and was gotten rid of... in a society way, much worse than in the Mob way.
- Mistaken for Gay:
- Max and Caroline in "And the Break-Up Scene" and "And the Pretty Problem".
- Han in "And the Spring Break." Played with immediately thereafter when Max says he's usually mistaken for a lesbian.
- My Beloved Smother: Han's mother.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Opening scene of the pilot.
- Naive Newcomer: Caroline
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's pretty clear that Caroline's father is supposed to be a Bernie Madoff expy.
- No Periods, Period:
- Averted in "And The Secret Ingredient". A two-act subplot was devoted to Han's attempt to squeeze out a little extra profit by tripling the price of tampons in the restroom tampon machine, which Max successfully protests by replacing the straws in the dispensers with tampons and giving them out for free with every check.
- Other episodes avert this as well. " In "And the Very Christmas Thanksgiving", Caroline complains that the tights in her elf costume have a previous wearer's menstrual stains in the crotch. In another:
Max: I have never been at a loss for words. Tampons, yes. Words, no.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Max actually compliments Caroline with no trace of sarcasm and mockery, Caroline thinks that Max must be seriously depressed.
- Odd Couple: Max: Cynical, jaded, and dead inside. Caroline: Optimistic, naive, and ever-hopeful. Note that both girls are portrayed as smart, just in different ways.
- Oh Crap: Max and Caroline's reaction to the telltale signs of a flash mob in "And The 90's Horse Party." (No one ordering any food, all wearing identical clothing, checking their watches to see what time it is.)
- Older Than They Look: Han. Lampshaded many times.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: When having dinner with Sophie in "And the Upstairs Neighbor". She's talking with a client about what turns out to be a woman she sent over to clean his house; Caroline and Max hear it as proof she's a madam.
- Parental Substitute: Earl to Max, most evidently in "And the Broken Hearts".
- Panty Shot: In-Universe. Han/Bryce comes in to give Caroline her name tag while she's on a ladder and catches a nice view.
- The Pratfall: Caroline has done a few of these, particularly because of the very high heels she often wears.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Shmulie and David in "And the Kosher Cupcakes" when their mother's not around.
- Profiling: In the second episode, Caroline finds a baker with an African name whom she intends to be their first business contact. Max jokes about not wanting anything to do with it due to her name.
- Pungeon Master: Max is this, especially in Episode 10.
- Put on a Bus: Johnny, for most of the first season.
- Reality Ensues:
- At the end of 1x03, "And Strokes of Goodwill", the Puerto Rican woman who stole Max's The Strokes tee while she was briefly distracted. Both Max and Caroline insult her and her "closeted boyfriend" in the space of a few seconds, Caroline even spilling soup on the shirt. While they're metaphorically high-fiving at the counter, and talking about what they just learned, Max notes the woman coming toward them with murder in her eyes.
- The money in the cupcake fund, as given at the end of each episode, doesn't always increase. In some episodes it goes down or remains flat, and is always in accord with an amount given during the episode. Doesn't always make sense, though, as it doesn't account for income they should've had.
- At the end of "And the Broken Hearts", when Max pleads with the doctor, a former friend of Caroline's who has gotten her upset by rebuffing her romantically, to reconsider, he says nice things about her but stands firm because there is still too much social opprobrium attached to the Channing family name because of her father's crimes.
- Redemption Quest: The cupcake business.
- Relationship Reveal: Johnny has a girlfriend.
- Renaissance Man: Earl.
- Reset Button: The episode after Max quits her babysitting job, she takes it back in order to get a favor from Peach.
- Rich Bitch: Averted. This might be expected from a character like Caroline, but she's actually a pretty nice person.
- Riches to Rags: Caroline.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Max and Caroline, of course.
- Rule of Symbolism: The gap in the subway tunnel walkway both Caroline and Max have to jump (with the former refusing to take off her heels) in "And the Big Buttercream Breakthrough." A real New York City subway tunnel would not have one, but it clearly symbolizes both the risk Caroline took starting her life over at the diner and the risk Max takes later in the episode by giving up her babysitting job for the business.
- Sensual Slavs: Sophie.
Max: You can't tell an Asian he made a mistake, he'll go out back and throw himself on a sword.
- Series Continuity Error: In "And The Rich People Problems", Max calls karaoke "one of the worst things in history", but in "And The Pop-Up Sale" she mentions that she sometimes sings karaoke.
- Serious Business: Tipping.
- She's Got Legs: Caroline. This compensates her lack of bust size.
- Skirts and Ladders: Han accidentally looks up Caroline's skirt while she is standing on a ladder writing on the blackboard. He rushes off in embarrassment but not before thanking her.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Max and Caroline are the living embodiment of this trope, with Caroline representing the side of idealism and Max heavily on the cynicism side of the scale. That said, both have been known to cross to the other side on occasion (such as when things start to look hopeless even for Caroline or when Max has a good reason to go along with Caroline's optimism.
- Smarter Than You Look: Caroline is a business school graduate who obviously couldn't have gotten through it without some semblance of intelligence, she's just not as skilled in the middle class world. She's even great with taxes, as shown in "And the Messy Purse Smackdown".
- Smoking Is Cool: Subverted by Sophie as she uses electric cigarettes.
- Special Guest: Martha Stewart in the first-season finale.
- Spoiled Sweet: Caroline.
- Stepford Snarker: Max seems to have some hints of this.
- Supreme Chef: Max is this when it comes to cupcakes, although she may also be a One-Note Cook. Ultimately subverted in "And The Secret Ingredient": Max uses store-bought cake mix because she never learned how to make cupcakes from scratch.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: Max and Caroline believing that Sophie runs a prostitution ring in "And The Upstairs Neighbor". Sophie is extremely displeased by this, but in all fairness to Max and Caroline, the things they see and hear when they're around Sophie don't exactly do much to contradict that belief.
- Take That:
- Max's response to Caroline asking if she has no shame:
Max: Shame is overrated. Like Kesha
- This line from "And the Messy Purse Smackdown":
Sophie: No, I'm not Kim Kardashian. I actually work for a living.
- Max to Caroline in "And the Big Buttercream Breakthrough" when she tries to force their business cards on people at the crafts fair:
Max: Scaring people into participating isn't business, it's Scientology.
- Max to a customer in a 19th-century outfit writing on a typewriter in the Cold Open for the first-season finale, "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball"
Oh ... steampunk. That was popular for about ten seconds back in two-thousand-are-you-kidding-me?
- Take This Job and Shove It: Max refuses to take her babysitting job back, even when Peach actually comes to the diner and begs her to, at the end of "And the Big Buttercream Breakthrough", in order to concentrate more effort on the cupcake business. She tells Caroline it's the first time she ever quit a job without another one to take its place.
- However, in the next episode, "And Martha Stewart Have A Ball (Part 1)", the Reset Button is partially applied when, in order to get Chestnut out of the stable and cheer Caroline up, Max agrees to babysit for her at least once a week "for the rest of my life".
- Terrified of Germs: Caroline becomes a germophobe from time to time, like when she went to a dentist office in the subway and during flu season.
- Took a Level In Badass: In the thirteenth episode, "And the Secret Ingredient", the Cold Open leads to Caroline making the sarcastic comment to a customer, which is promptly lampshaded:
Max: Welcome to waitress, honey. We've been waiting a long time for you.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: More than once.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Max and Caroline respectively, though Max can still be feminine.
- Tomboyish Name: Max
- Totally Radical: Han's use of the word "hip." Lampshaded, naturally, by Max. Han in general is portrayed as someone whose concept of what's cool is at least a few years behind the times, if not more.
- Transparent Closet: Sophie's boyfriend in "And the Kosher Cupcakes".
- Ultimate Job Security: Max appears to be able to mouth off to any customer she wants without losing her job or otherwise suffering consequences. But Caroline is an even better example than that: We never really see her doing any work (Lampshaded, of course, by Max) and in episode three she even deliberately dumps borscht on a customer. The episode ends immediately after, and Caroline pretended it was an accident, but given the Wretched Hive the entire neighborhood is portrayed as, and his level of incompetence, Han might simply not care.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Max has this with Johnny, the bartender, and it gets a lot of lampshading.
- Max and Caroline due to Ho Yay elements in everything they do with and to each other.
- Upperclass Twit:
- Averted with Caroline. While we might expect her to be an Airhead Heiress she seems to have a fair bit of common sense and adjusts to her new situation quickly. She is not a bad waitress, considering her lack of experience, and has no problems washing her uniform in a sink. Also, she is an excellent saleswoman. She does display some elements of this though, like being unfamiliar with how a grocery store works or the finer points of using coupons.
- This is played straight with Peaches, the woman Max works for as a nanny. While seemingly sweet, she is spoiled and a ditz.
- Valentines Day Episode: "And the Broken Hearts"
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Max and Johnny the bartender start at this, but it gets subverted when their ragging on each other turns out to be an act they put on to remind them of their families. The eponymous duo are a straighter example.
- Welcome Episode: The pilot. Caroline starts working at the diner and befriends Max.
- Work Com
- Wretched Hive: The diner, Max's neighborhood.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: Caroline to Max when she sees who's at the door in "And the Spring Break."
- Your Cheating Heart: In the first episode, Max learns from Caroline that her boyfriend is cheating on her. She doesn't believe it at first, but later discovers that it's true.